Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) | KUNC

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

As the number of coronavirus cases surged in Massachusetts, nurses at a hospital in Milford were desperate. They held up cardboard signs outside the hospital asking for donations of protective gear to wear while treating infected patients.

William Touhey Jr. thought he could help. Touhey is the fire chief and emergency management director in this small town outside of Boston. He did some legwork, and placed an order for 30,000 protective gowns from overseas.

"We were hearing good things that it was coming," Touhey said.

The Trump administration’s latest National Preparedness Report is the first of its kind to completely ignore climate change

Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park / Facebook

The federal government hasn't funded $20 million in work to fix roads damaged by flooding in Larimer County nearly six years ago.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reports that a 2018 law that changed how the Federal Emergency Management Agency awards money for projects that don't meet strict design guidelines, like those in Larimer County's Big Thompson Canyon, was supposed to help speed up funding. However, FEMA hasn't given its regional offices guidance on how to award money under it.

If they had known, they never would have bought the house on Bayou Glen Road. Sure, it was a beautiful lot, tucked in a bend of the creek, backyard woodsy and wild, the neighbors friendly and the street quiet. A little piece of nature just 20 minutes from downtown Houston. It was exactly what John and Heather Papadopoulos — recently married, hoping to start a family — were looking for in 2007. They didn't think much about the creek that ran along their yard, aside from appreciating the birds it attracted to the neighborhood.

Teams of people from the Mountain West, including firefighters and Red Cross volunteers, have already been deployed to the East Coast in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

Matt Bloom/KUNC

In September 2013, historic flooding fundamentally changed Jamestown, Colorado. Landslides triggered by massive rains destroyed homes, buried the town’s fire station and left one resident dead.

What happened next was what some call the most ambitious recovery project in the town’s history. The effort is finally wrapping up this fall, leaving residents with a big question: Where do they go from here?

Tim Resch / Estes Park Outfitters

On a September evening in 2013, Tim Resch, owner of Estes Park Outfitters, was with a handful of clients on an elk hunting trip on Twin Sisters Mountain in the Roosevelt National Forest. His business caters to out of state hunters who are attracted by the area’s reputation for big bull elk.

That night, it started raining. And it didn’t stop.

“When that flood really broke loose, I couldn’t get to my horses, couldn’t get to my trucks and trailers," he said. "I was in awe, I’ve never seen anything like that."

courtesy of Boulder County

The cost of flood insurance for thousands of properties in unincorporated Boulder County is going down for the next 5 years. For homeowners within the 100 year floodplain, the average savings will be $470 per year.  

“Boulder County is part of the National Flood Insurance Program and part of that is the community rating system,” said Stacey Proctor, a project manager for Boulder County’s Transportation Department.

Boulder County has been part of the CRS rating program since the early 90s. Proctor said the program “incentivizes communities to go above and beyond the minimum requirements,” getting them to look at flood plains comprehensively. Community flood insurance rates are set based on the CRS rating, which communities can improve in a variety of ways. As long as the county can keep it's current rating during an annual review, the insurance rates will be disounted. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it is prepared to reopen all 144,000 insurance claims that resulted from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The move comes after months of questions over whether insurance companies contracted by the National Flood Insurance Program fraudulently altered engineering reports.

After thousands of homeowners said their insurance claims were systematically lowballed, FEMA began negotiations in an attempt to regain the trust of policy holders.

No agreement has yet been signed.

Colorado United / Twitter

While construction and recovery efforts continue a year after Colorado’s epic 2013 flood, Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Recovery Office have released a report analyzing the progress made and lessons learned over everything from housing and infrastructure to environmental restoration efforts.